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SEATTLE PACIFIC UNIVERSITY
COMMUNITY STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES FOR RESOLVING DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS
FAQs

What kind of complaints does this policy cover?
Ones that may involve the university Nondiscrimination policy or other university standards.

Is there a deadline for filing a complaint?
Complaints should be brought to the university's attention as soon as possible after the alleged violation. Normally, it should not be later than 180 days after the alleged incident.

What happens if I make my complaint verbally, not in writing, to the Complaint Coordinator?
You may be requested to submit a written or signed statement. The Complaint Coordinator may also summarize your complaint in writing and ask you to sign it to verify that he or she is accurately understanding your complaint. You may be asked about witnesses or other forms of available evidence.

What if I change my mind about making a complaint?
The university may initiate its own complaint and proceed to investigate the alleged incident anyway, especially if it seems that civil rights may be violated or it is in best interests of SPU community to do so.

Is everything strictly confidential?
The university will do its best to maintain confidentiality, but, in the course of investigating or mediating the complaint, information may be revealed. Also, if a university official has reason to believe that laws have been broken, he or she may have to break confidentiality for safety sake.

Who ultimately makes a decision about the outcome of the complaint?
The Complaint Coordinator offers a resolution to the Decision-Maker (usually, a university Vice-President, depending on nature of the complaint). The Decision-Maker then makes a determination about the complaint and communicates that back to the complainant and the respondent.

Do respondents have any rights and safeguards against being falsely accused?
The SPU Lifestyle Expectation code already prohibits dishonesty and knowingly furnishing false information. People who violate this standard are subject to disciplinary procedures.

Why would a complainant wish to choose informal resolution? Is the complainant the only one who can decide not to have informal resolution?
This is not an appropriate path in all cases, but sometimes, resolution of a complaint can be achieved more expeditiously (if formal investigation is not required). The mediator or complaint coordinator for the university may also decide to terminate informal resolution and move to a more formal investigation if it seems warranted. Should this occur, the information and discussions from the informal resolution are to remain confidential (unless required by law to be disclosed) although the mediator will provide a report to the complaint coordinator and then step out of the formal process.

Can the complainant, respondent, or witnesses bring legal counsel to university proceedings?
No. Parties may seek outside legal counsel at their own expense but such counsel may not participate in the internal proceedings of the university.

What if either complainant or respondent does not like the resolution determined by the Decision-maker?
There is a right of appeal (it must be filed in writing within s specific time period-please see full policy statement for details).

 

 

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